Pharmacy support staff refers to staff within the pharmacy team who are not registered with us but have important roles in:
- the dispensing and supply of medicines or medical devices
- advising on the use of medicines and medical devices
- assisting pharmacy professionals to provide pharmacy services to individuals
These staff work under the supervision of a pharmacy professional to carry out tasks related dispensing and supply of medicines, provide information or deliver pharmacy services. This can include staff working in many different roles.
Education and training requirements for pharmacy support staff
We set requirements for the education and training of support staff, to make sure they continue to have the necessary knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to provide safe and effective care to people using pharmacy services.
Our requirements cover both the education and training of pharmacy support staff, and the criteria for the approval of support staff courses and/or qualifications.
The requirements below set out how we will approve those providing training for support staff to meet our requirements.
Implementing the requirements
Read the pharmacy support staff evidence framework [PDF 591.15 KB]
The pharmacy support staff evidence framework is designed to support course and qualification designers and developers as they write courses and qualifications for pharmacy support staff. Awarding organisations and course providers must demonstrate that they meet the requirements to have a pharmacy support staff course or qualification approved by us. This document provides examples of the type of information and evidence awarding organisations and course providers should submit, to have a pharmacy support staff course or qualification approved by us. It also provides clarity for course providers, awarding organisations, employers and support staff about achieving certain learning outcomes within the education and training requirements.
This guidance will assist employers when implementing the new support staff education and training requirements. Employers need to make sure they are aware of their responsibilities for staff operating in or from a registered pharmacy. This guidance clarifies and explains key sections of the policy to help employers meet our requirements.
Employers should use the learning needs assessment form to carry out an assessment of the relevant knowledge, skills and experience of a student carrying out a support staff role, and to identify any further learning or experience required by the student, in relation to the role. This form must be completed by a registered pharmacy professional.
Pharmacy support roles
Dispensing assistant or pharmacy assistant
A dispensing assistant (or pharmacy assistant) is involved in a range of duties within the pharmacy. They work under the supervision of a pharmacist and assist the pharmacist and pharmacy technician in the dispensing process. A dispensing/pharmacy assistant might work in a hospital pharmacy or community pharmacy and have varying roles and responsibilities.
Medicines counter assistant
A medicines counter assistant is involved in the sale of over-the-counter medicines and works under the supervision of a pharmacist. They are trained to offer advice on common ailments and must know when to refer a customer to a pharmacist.